Create the Change you Want to See. That’s what we tell our women at Shine. And we attribute it to Gandhi. However we do that knowing that the quote is a slight transformation of the (also misused) one ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ Here’s why we we changed it – and what he was saying at the very start!
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi is telling us that personal and social transformation go hand in hand, but there is no suggestion in his words that personal transformation is enough. Whilst his struggle to bring about a better world involved stringent self-denial and rigorous adherence to the philosophy of non-violence; it also involved a steady awareness that one person alone can’t change anything – only by great numbers of people working together with discipline and persistence.
What a message for us women of today and particularly of 2018! “Be the change you want to see in the world” does three powerful things when we adopt it; it stops us from judging others, replaces complaining about others with reflection on self – and stirs us into taking action. But while all of this is good counsel, if we dig a little bit deeper, we realise that he wasn’t just telling us to lead by example, or to not get caught up in other people’s business – he was asking us to create the change not only inside of ourselves, but further still.
How many incredibly brave women have we seen in recent months, standing up to tell us of the horrors that they have been subjected to by men. How many men have stood up to publicly affirm their support to the campaigns that aim reverse the damage. The answer is many. To me that is BEING the change they want to see. But surely that isn’t enough – the next step has to be CREATING the change.
What is our goal? Gender parity and equal opportunity. How do we want it? By men and women working to gather to create the change. If Gandhi could be here today – I’m sure he would agree with the meaning behind our change of words.
In Helena Morrissey’s book ‘A good time to be a girl’ she says: “We now have the chance to reinvent the game – not at the expense of men, but by creating new ways of working and living that fit the world of today and tomorrow. Our ambitious shared goal is to devise ways of working, living, loving and bringing up families together, as equals. A model of partnership and collaboration. Rather than hierarchies and patriarchy.”